10 Things You Probably Didn't Know About Final Fantasy VII
Ever since its release in 1997, the first of the Playstation Final Fantasy games is equally considered one of the best role-playing game ever made, or a completely overrated piece of crap that hogs the spotlight from more worthy entries. There's not a lot of middle ground among gamers.
Regardless, such an iconic title, whether beloved or denounced, has been thoroughly dissected for 16 straight years. How can there possibly be anything left even in such a comparatively massive game for the time that remains hidden.
Well, there are a few little odd corners.
It Was Originally a Nintendo 64 Title: When it first came out, there was a lot of backlash against Squaresoft for defecting from Nintendo, where they had always licensed their games, to the new Sony console. Most brand-loyal fans felt it was a betrayal and a slap in the face to the long history between the two companies, but it isn't as if Squaresoft didn't try. Above is the tech demo for what was still the Ultra 64, and while it's not bad for a demo it's nothing compared to the capabilities Square wanted for the game. The company decided to move to Sony, and all that remains of the original vision is this demo.
It Was Also Originally Xenogears: The game that originally became the philosophical science fiction RPG Xenogears started off its life as the concept for Final Fantasy VII. Soraya Saga and Tetsuya Takahashi's submitted script was considered too dark for the series, and they got the green light to pursue an original title with the script outside Squaresoft's main franchise. There's an homage to this origin left in Final Fantasy VII. When Cloud is found in the hospital in Mideel after falling into the Lifestream, he mumbles the words "Xeno... gears" and also misquotes lines from the song "Broken mirror, a million shades of light" featured in Xenogears.
Not pictured: Subtlety
It Featured the Series' First Consistently Black Character: The first dark-skinned playable character to appear in the series was Leo Christophe in Final Fantasy VI. However, Leo is playable in only a single battle before dying, and though his profile portrait is clearly dark-skinned, his on-screen sprite is white. Therefore, Barret Wallace serves as the first real character of African descent to appear. To counteract this moment of progress Squaresoft gave him a gun, had him be a low-income violent man who swears constantly, and in the spin-off film Advent Children made his first line "Yo, waddup foo?"
Speaking of lines...
It Features the First Actor in the Series: Voice acting in Final Fantasy didn't become a staple of the series until the first entry on the Playstation 2. That said, VII actually features an uncredited voice actor during Diamond Weapon's attack on Midgard. An unknown voice, presumably manning the Sister Ray, says "Radar system is go. Sister Ray target confirmed. Entering discharge preparations. All workers should evacuate from the designated area."
Sephiroth's Boss-Name is a Superman Joke: Sephiroth, like many FF big bads, goes through several forms in the final battle. One of these is Bizzaro-Sephiroth. Thing is, it should have been Rebirth-Sephiroth. The letters "B" and "V" in Japanese are interchangeable, and the digraph "th" is often translated as "S". So Rebirth-Sephiroth became Reverse-Sephiroth, which was then changed to Bizarro-Sephiroth after Superman's always-opposite clone villain.
Piece continues on next page.
"One-Winged Angel" Was Inspired By "Purple Haze": If the series has a break-out hit song, it's the magnificent "One-Winged Angel" which serves as Sephiroth's final battle theme. It's basically the "Free Bird" of video game music, and Nobuo Uematsu wanted to add a bit of rock and roll to the tune. The distinctive opening was meant to sound like an orchestral version of Jimi Hendrix's "Purple Haze", and if you listen to the back to back, you'll be kicking yourself for never catching it before.
It Has a Secret Cow Level: Diablo II has a secret level perfect for gaining experience points fighting Hell Bovines appropriately called Secret Cow Level. Since its discovery, Blizzard has left little homages to the level in other games, all the while flatly denying the level even exists. When Final Fantasy VII was finally ported to PC, they added an Easter Egg referencing it. By using the portable save crystal in a specific place in the Northern Crater, the area will be called Secret Cow Level.
The Hidden (Al)Most Powerful Attack: The classic enemy Tonberry can only be fought in the Golden Saucer Battle Square, however there it was also supposed to be encountered in the Northern Crater. However, the player can't be controlled in the one place the battle is programmed to appear. Hack the game to be able to fight there, you get not only a chance to fight the enemy, but also to see one of the most powerful attacks in the game. If you manage to hit the Tonberry three times in a row (Probably by Hasting your character and Slowing the Tonberry), then he will retaliate with "Time Damage."
It doesn't look like much in the video, but the damage formula for the attack is (100*hours played)+minutes played. That means that if it could be used by the payer late in the game it would be one of the most powerful attacks available under the legendary Knights of the Round.
How Does The Buster Sword Attach to Cloud's Back?: Cloud's Buster Sword is one of the most iconic (And stupid) video game weapons ever. When not in use Cloud wears it draped across his back, but how? There's no sheath. The answer is magnets. Early sketches of Cloud show a large magnet connected by straps on his back. It's the only sensible way he'd ever be able to draw the massive blade.
Aeris Was (Maybe) Supposed to Survive/Be Revived: No one could believe that when Sephiroth killed Aeries she would stay dead. The idea was unthinkable. Bringing dead characters back to life was a staple of the series. It had almost never been done before, and certainly not with so central a figure to the main story.
But died she did, and the only way that you could play her after Disc 1 was to hack the game, and it's not a good idea because her equipment never gets any better than after the point she dies. What's weird though is that if you do this, you find that Aeris has lines programmed in places that can only be visited after her death. This implies heavily that she wasn't always supposed to remain that way, or that possibly she would not have been killed at all.
The lines are nothing Earth-shattering, proving that they were probably just placeholders until the story was finalized. It's nice to believe though that in some alternate universe version of the game she made it.
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